The NBA Season is here!!!!!!!!!!!!
At long, long last, we get to see real, regular season NBA basketball. Statistics will be kept, games will be played, and we here at Bulls 101 will finally have to take recaps and previews seriously. Sigh.
As the Chicago Bulls get set to take on the Sacramento Kings, let's go over the storylines in play as we enter into the regular season.
- Derrick Rose has no timetable for his return, says John Paxson. Given that it would be at least two months before Rose would be back at a minimum, that's not really surprising. Rose still is expected to make it back before the end of the regular season, at least for now. Best guess has him back in mid-March or thereabouts.
- How many minutes is Luol Deng going to play? He averaged 31.3 minutes per game in the preseason, which is troubling. Knowing Tom Thibodeau, over 40 MPG isn't exactly out of the question. And is his wrist even healthy? He says it's not a problem anymore, but what happens if he falls on it or something? For possibly the most important player on the team, Deng sure has a lot of question marks to him.
- Kirk Hinrich is "home." Do us a favor and count how many times the fact that Hinrich kept a house in the Chicago area is mentioned over the course of the broadcast, including pregame and postgame. If it's less than 10, drink everything in your house. Don't worry, it won't be less than 10.
- Is Carlos Boozer capable of being the first option on a decent team? Utah Carlos Boozer probably was. Chicago Carlos Boozer? Probably not. This could get interesting.
- Taj Gibson has until 11 PM CST to work out an extension with the Bulls or he'll hit restricted free agency next summer. Word is the negotiations will go down to the wire. Fingers crossed.
- Is Rip Hamilton ever going to be healthy? Probably not. But we can hope.
Key Matchup: DeMarcus Cousins vs. Joakim Noah
Both guys basically set the tone for their teams. Cousins is basically a brawler in terms of rebounding, but he has a tendency to float a bit on offense. The key for Joakim will be to keep him off the boards as much as possible and encourage floating. Cousins will make some jumpers, but contest them and you'll live with that. Offensively, Noah has a quickness advantage on Cousins, and if he can make some plays from the high post, that will really help prop up a Bulls offense that figures to struggle this year.
Projected Starting Five
Sacramento Kings: Jason Thompson, PF; James Johnson, SF; DeMarcus Cousins, C; Tyreke Evans, SG; Isaiah Thomas, PG.Tags: Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, NBA, Sacramento Kings, Taj Gibson, Tom Thibodeau